Huckabee Withdrawal Boosts Santorum

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Mike Huckabee just made Rick Santorum’s night.

The popular former Governor of Arkansas announced tonight his decision not to run for President in 2012, freeing up an important bloc of GOP primary voters – those to whom opposition to abortion and gay marriage are key issues.

A former Baptist minister, he likely would have run the table on socially conservative votes in key early states like Iowa and South Carolina. Those are votes that Santorum needs if his long shot Presidential run is to be successful. His career has been defined by his strong – and controversial – stances on so-called moral issues.

Huckabee consistently ranked among the top two or three prospective GOP candidates in the 2012 field, and lead almost every early poll of the Iowa caucuses.

Nate Silver at the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight named Santorum as one of the primary beneficiaries of the Huckabee decision (tempered only by the fact that Santorum is Catholic, and can’t expect support from Evangelical Protestants the way Huckabee could).

That understanding is clear from Santorum’s quick response to Huckabee’s announcement.

“I have long admired Governor Huckabee and his commitment to talking about the critical issues facing America.  Those of us who believe in the virtues and values of life and family can never have enough allies, and I am grateful to Governor Huckabee for helping to keep those issues front and center,” Santorum wrote.

Santorum also took another swipe at Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who has said that issues like abortion and gay rights wouldn’t be his priority as a candidate.

“As some in our party seek to form a ‘truce’ on social issues, I look forward to a dialogue with Governor Huckabee and his supporters to talk of our shared commitment to fight for traditional values and the rights granted to us by our forefathers. Finally, I was particularly moved by his honesty in revealing the reason for his decision.  He above all prayerfully sought God’s will for his life.”

The former PA Senator must now hope that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann – both higher in the polls than Santorum and both thought of as socially conservative candidates – make the same decision as Huckabee.

May 14th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Presidential | 6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Huckabee Withdrawal Boosts Santorum”

  1. RHT says:

    Go ahead, guys — you’re just making it a LOT harder for independents like me to support a Republican.

  2. susan says:

    Santorum wants to be Ayatolla, not President.

  3. David Diano says:

    Yes, Santorum’s chance move from 1-in-a-trillion to 1-in-a-billion.

  4. Reuben says:

    I was planning on voting for Governor Huckabee for President. With his withdrawal, Senator Santorum has my vote.

  5. eddie1247 says:

    Do I consider Rick Santorum a serious candidate for a Presidential run? Someone that hopes that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann drop out so his standings in the polls become higher, get serious Ricky.

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